"When she opened her first Bikram yoga studio in London in 1999, Michelle Pernetta was the first person to bring the practice to the British capital. She went on to open four studios in the city.
But in a bold and controversial move and amidst the flurry of negative press currently surrounding Bikram Choudhury, last month saw her break away from the tradition to unveil her own brand of hot yoga, Fierce Grace.
We asked her about the reasons behind her decision, the mechanics of her new system and how she broke the news to Bikram himself.
Why did you decide to rebrand your studios Fierce Grace?
'I’ve taught the Bikram system for a very long time and I’m not criticizing it at all. It’s gotten masses of people into yoga and is a very safe class, but there are a few things missing and as a teacher you are limited. That’s the problem with the model, you hit this glass ceiling and there’s nothing you can do. For 20 years I’ve also watched my students, and seen the poses they do after class, which they feel they need but are not getting. It’s not just because I want to open under a different name and not pay the Bikram franchise, which a lot of people are doing. I’ve evolved it because a lot of us still have tight hips, flabby arms, and a weak upper body.'”
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